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Good answer to 'what do you do/study'

Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:43 am

This might apply to other people with boring jobs or who are studying similar "turn off" subjects, but I created this thread because I am studying computer science. Whenever I meet someone and they ask me what I'm studying, when I reply with computer science, there is pretty much only one thing that happens:

They reply with 'oh' or repeat the subject name and have a look behind the eyes that says they no longer want to be talking to me, or that it sounds incredibly boring/nerdy. They also look like they have no idea what to say next, and generally they don't. It's an effective conversation killer.

The exception is of course when I meet another computer scientist or related course.

So what is a better (or even witty) way to answer this question?

I was reading a book that said you should try to give the other person material to work with to continue the conversation (it was talking about when you say your job but it still applies). But the examples it gave were basically giving more information about the job in case the other person can pick up / relate to any of it. I presume everyone knows what computing is about, so what else can I say about it? Anyway, I'd rather make it sound more exciting, or give a funny reply or something? I just don't want to see that look in their eyes. :(

Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:41 pm

I usually respond with a joke first, it will make them laugh and build a connection before you inevitably tell them your "nerdy" major.


HB: So what are you here for? Whats your major?

Pez: I am actually in clown college, pretty stressful. I got a unicycle exam tomorrow.

HB: Hahaha really?

Pez: Actually I am a/an ........ I had you for a second there!

Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:01 pm

Hey trebor! I am studying Computer Science myself. When people asked me what do I study, I try to relate it back to them. For example:

Person: "What do you study?"

Me: "Well, what I study allows people like you and me to watch gruesome yet hilarious videos (or any well known meme) on YouTube."

At this point, there could be 3 possible senarios:

A: She asks "You study the Internet?" (what a dumb hoe!). To that, you can simply reply: "No, but part of it is what I study." Then, you can proceed to another topic (because you don't want her to know too much about what you study anyway), or you can DHV by saying "I didn't know The Internet was a course".

B: She gets it that you study something about computers. At this point she could either probe further and ask you what do you do in your course (which might be an IOI), or nod and go "okay". If she does the former, you can proceed to talk more about it, but try and make it interesting, like how a simple matter of sorting stuff requires complex algorithms, or even show her how binary numbers work (as a DHV tool, and make sure to throw in the super old joke about binary numbers after to see if she understood, if she didn't then DHV more!!!). If she does the latter then reward her interest by asking what she studies, and if you already did that then change the topic.

C: She caught on to the other comment that you made, that gruesome videos are funny. You can proceed to DHV by telling her that schadenfreude stems from a sense of superiority on our part, that the misfortune is on that person in the video, and not on us (Social comparison theory). If she feels uncomfortable, make a point that it is no longer funny when someone gets seriously injured, or it might possibly leave a bad impression on your part.

Another way that I find to be quite successful is to to show that what we study is actually for very intelligent and logical people (or so my lecturer says), and we can use this to DHV. So it can go something like:

Person: What do you study?

Me: What I study involves complexed algorithms that require much logic and understanding to comprehend fully, so I think we need to leave it at that."

I am not sure if the people I say this to caught my subtle remark that they are perhaps not intelligent enough to know about what I do, but they usually just go like "oh really?". From there you can just say yeah and proceed onto another topic.

I think the main idea here is to value what you study. Pick out what is good about it, its "selling point", and convey that to people. This goes for any other courses that people might take, I believe.

I hope you find this informative!

Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:27 pm

Oh yeah, sometimes girls can hold up her bitch shield or try to qualify herself to be cool by saying "I don't watch stuff on YouTube" or things like that. There are many ways to make a comeback that I can imagine, but the one that I have used was "Wow, you live in a cave or something? This is the 21st century man!", and the conversation carried on with more teasing and her qualifying herself. But I am uncertain if it would work all the time for this, because I have only encountered this situation once. Tell me what you think!

Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:10 am

Hey, thanks. Good advice. :)

Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:07 pm

When asked what university im in , I always state that im in one at the other end of the country and fly back and forth to my house by plane.

When asked what I study I reply with " candle making"

and if pursued any further i pretend my feelings are hurt

Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:50 am

I've been reading some of Mystery's stuff and he had the reply of "I seduce beautiful women; I'm what they call a 'ladies man'.", they should reply with something like "well it isn't working on me" and you respond with: "You don't think I'd actually say that to a woman I was interested in do you?".
I thought that was pretty cool but I'm yet to try it.

Re: Good answer to 'what do you do/study'

Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:50 pm

The passion what I has on English subject has made me to do post graduation in English literature and now working as thesis writer in best custom essay writing services blog. When I use see my friends who are engineers I use to feel little bad why I did not choose to by looking at my friends and their jobs.
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